The following comes from Jim & Donna Crawford. As usual they have provided a great service to the citizens of this state.
Surprisingly, I support HB 292 Transfer of Public Lands Act. This bill transfers ownership of federal lands to state ownership. It exempts National Parks, National Monuments, wilderness areas, military reservations, lands within municipalities, and Indian lands.
During a 33 year career with the US Forest Service, I was well indoctrinated in the philosophies of multiple-use, land of many uses, and the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run all implying productive use of the land. During the first half of that career, I believed that federal lands were a great asset and would never have even considered there might be any positive aspects of a bill like this. However, over the period of my employment I saw the National Forests go from a net revenue producer providing huge returns to states and counties to a pure expense item in the federal budget with only minimal returns to states and counties. Forests are becoming unmanaged and overgrown tinder boxes and reserves for endangered species and environmentalist monuments where no use is considered to be the only good use.
This article spells out the problems with National Forest management better than I can in a brief statement. I am sure that the same reasoning also applies to Bureau of Land Management lands.
The bill excludes all the main playground areas that are tourist attractions for the state so that aspect of these federal lands will remain in federal hands. The only lands being transferred are the formerly productive lands that have value for commercial products. The state can manage the lands to produce needed revenue or sell the lands and generate needed revenue for the state.
Not only is something like this needed to reduce the huge proportion (28.1 million acres or 36.2%) of federal land in the state but it is also needed to reverse the ever increasing federal land grab of more and more dedicated and off limits areas and designations. The Progressives that ascribe to the tenets of UN Agenda 21and its companion Biological Diversity Treaty will not be satisfied until private property rights are extinguished and over half of the country is in federal ownership and preserved for rewilding where all human impacts would be eliminated.
The land grab to eliminate any productive use of federal land is ever accelerating. As recently as February 5, 2013, former Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt proposed to make more land off limits for oil and gas exploration by requiring 1 acre be made off limits for every acre leased for exploration. Programs like this will just take money right away from NM. The state needs to be able to manage the oil and gas and other valuable resources in NM for the benefit of the state.
Back in 2010, a secret administration memo surfaced revealing plans for the federal government to seize more than 10 million acres from Montana to New Mexico, halting job- creating activities like ranching, forestry, mining and energy development. Worse, this land grab would dry up tax revenue that’s essential for funding schools, firehouses and community centers. The included NM sites were Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve 58,000 acres and Otero Mesa 1,200,000 acres.
Economic and returns to the states from federal lands are diminishing. This trend needs to be reversed and it seems like transfer of the land to the states is the only way to reverse federal dominance.
Please pass this bill.
I support HB 144 Issue Real ID Cards. This bill provides for the state to issue an ID card that meets the Federal Real ID Act of 2005 for use for federal identification purposes and is not a license of any kind.
Since the legislature is so steadfast in not dealing with the driver’s license problem that 70% of us NM citizens want fixed, I guess the only alternative is to produce something like this so that New Mexicans have an ID card that meets the federal requirements. Real ID’s are needed to access federal buildings and board air planes. Before the grace period was extended by Homeland Security even the ABQ police were signing up for passports in case they needed to fly.
I would prefer that we fix the driver’s license problem so that my official NM driver’s license met the requirements of the federal ID act and that illegal aliens were accommodated with a different license if need be. However, this seems to be the next best thing and will serve in the interim until the legislature wakes up and fixes the driver’s license issue.
I oppose SB 284 Valuation of Renewable Energy Equipment. This bill provides a revised way for valuation of installed renewable energy equipment for property tax purposes. The net effect will be to lower taxable valuation of properties with renewable energy equipment but because of the way tax calculations are made for the counties, the total tax collected will not go down but be tacked on to all the property tax payers in the county.
We tax payers and utility rate payers are already providing subsidies and paying for the renewable energy equipment in several different ways. This is just one more insult to us by now wanting us to pick up part of the property tax valuations as well. This is just pure welfare to people wealthy enough to buy this equipment on their own so that they can have the smug arrogance that they are saving the planet and are better than the rest of us.
I oppose SB 245 Utility Info Disclosure to Customers. This bill requires electric companies to disclose to its retail customers the fuel composition by type and percent. It requires display of the cost per KWH for each fuel type including cost for capacity. It requires the display of air pollutants, water consumed and other environmental impacts per KWH.
This is pure regulatory harassment to the electric industry. It will be a burdensome extra cost for the electric utilities to periodically have to produce an environmental impact assessment of this nature. It is designed solely to further the environmental push to eliminate coal fired generation in lieu of sacred wind and solar.
Notice however, there is no requirement to disclose the significant environmental impacts of wind and solar farms and equipment production. Also there is no requirement to disclose the economic benefits of the electric production and a cost benefit analysis of the different fuel types. If costs are to be displayed so should the relative benefits.
This more regulatory over reach designed to make electric rates skyrocket so that wind and solar might someday actually be competitive.
The electric industry is already over regulated and does not need this harassment. Do not pass SB245.
I support Support HB 266 Renewable Energy Procurement Limits and HB 267 Utility Energy Efficiency & Load Management.
HB 266 makes the procurement limit apply to all customers and not just those with consumption over 10 million KWH. It establishes a 2% or $99,000 cap on price increase due to renewable energy procurement. It then allows the 2% or $99,000 cost limit be adjusted for inflation. This in effect gives us small consumers the same cost cap break available to mega users. In other words, our rate increase won’t exceed 2%. Even though I might like to see the limit fixed, it does make some sense to allow for inflation.
HB 267 does a similar thing by limiting the cost increases for energy efficiency and load management for the small user as well as the large users. It limits the cost tariff to 1% of the bill or $75,000 which ever is less. Again this will limit any cost increase in our small user bills to no more than 1%. Of course the two together would mean as much as a 3% increase!
Both of these bills give us normal small consumers some minimal protection and limits on price increases due to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and load management programs that formerly only applied to consumers with bills exceeding $99,000 and $75,000 respectively. I don’t think many of us use enough electricity to qualify for the existing restrictions on cost increases. Once again the average guy on the street ends up paying more because of unequal application of rules to various classes of consumers. These bills are a step in leveling the playing field.
I recommend passage of these two bills.
OPPOSE HB 241 – While there are great concerns about the spending orgy in Washington, and the need for a balanced budget amendment is vital, it should be accomplished through regular channels in Congress and not through a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con). Some state legislators have hopped on board the “Compact For America” train to call for a Con-Con to stop the out-of-control spending, but what these legislators don’t understand is that there is no way to control what is discussed at a Con-Con once it is called by Congress. Any number of proposed amendments could be brought up with the end result being a completely trashed U.S. Constitution as we know it. Many unintended consequences would prevail.
Article V of the Constitution does not provide answers to many questions: 1) who would choose the delegates? 2) what qualifications must they have to be delegates? 3) what powers would the delegates have? No one knows until Congress decides how to proceed. The fact is, once 34 states (two-thirds) petition Congress to convene a Constitutional Convention, the matter is completely out of the state’s hands. The States cannot control the debate! To discuss only one issue like the balanced budget is impossible. (American Policy Center)
Once the delegates are chosen, they become “super delegates” answerable to no one, not even Congress. The fact is, once chosen, the delegates to a Con-Con become the most powerful force in the nation. The Congress can’t tell them what to do, and the President can’t tell them how to act. They can enter the convention, close and lock the doors, and meet in complete secrecy and do whatever they want. (American Policy Center)
A fair analysis of the three-pronged proposal of the Compact For America Initiative reveals the formation of a modern-day Trojan Horse that could sneak the opportunity to make radical changes to our Constitution right past the protections of federalism put in place by our Founders to prevent unwise and unnecessary changes to our Constitution and the liberties guaranteed by it. (The New American)
I don’t think any of us want to put our Constitution on the operating table, take out our scalpels, and cut to shreds the greatest governing document the world has ever known. As a patriot of the United States of America, I’m not willing to take that chance. Please do not pass this bill.
Donna L. Crawford